As a magician that saunters along my unique powerful personal magical and spiritual path, an understanding of druids and the ogham tree alphabet is a mask of magic certainly worth exploring. As always this is a practice of balance, the historical information available and the experiential nature of the magic itself.
Writing and its association with magic itself, brought to humanity by the Egyptian god Thoth or in other traditions Penume the Fallen Angel from the Book of Enoch, is a powerful magical tool worth defending as it was suppressed throughout much of our history.
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So when I came across Jack Wilkin’s article Stories of the Druids Abound, but what is the Archeological Evidence? Posted on ancient origins.net https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/druid-history-0011625
I have to admit my own biases kicked in almost immediately from the title alone -‘another scientist desperately looking to debunk a sacred magical tradition’ I thought.
I apologize, on further reading the article is much better than that and definitely worth a read even if its leanings are towards modern epistemology and not the symbolic language of ogham and the druids.
In many ways the Wilkin article is a defense of the druids, he shows that much of what is written about them (in the Latin alphabet at least) was written by invading Romans (Cesar and others) and is likely to be politically skewed.
“Very little is known about the ancient druids as they did not have a written language and written records about them carry an anti-Celtic bias.” - Jack Wilkin.
However, this is only true by modern standards of writing, although, it has to be said, ogham is still notoriously difficult to understand and work with (at least from an academic standpoint.)
The whole concept of ogham is different from latinized script, it’s a Celtic tree calendar, it’s related to divination and protection.
Ogham Symbols And Their Meanings
Photo by Irina Priogova
“ There is no definite proof about the origin of this alphabet but it can be certain that the Druids, in the late iron age and beyond, last century BC and the first and second century A.D., used this system in the form of a calendar, based on the thirteen cycles of the moon, and the celebration of the four solstices...Each of the twenty symbols is the first letter of the name of a tree.”
Eco Enchantments blog: Introduction To The Magic Of The Ogham Trees.
I guess my beef with the Wilkin blog (as with much external only approach to spirituality and magic) is the lack of balance in the knowledge base.
Ogham Tree Alphabet
Sure, external research is vital when commenting on who and what the druids were but to know the tradition one must immerse oneself in the magic and be led through internal exploration and its results.
“The Druids, who were finely attuned to the spiritual powers of nature, are credited (from medieval tradition) with choosing the trees and shrubs to be associated with the moon cycles and ogham symbols. Each one was already steeped in the folklore and healing medicine, each representing long established magical powers and metaphysical meanings.”
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See other Articles in our Opinion Series:
Chaos Magic – Reflections On The Anatomy Of A Great Spell
Grey Magick: Pagan Types Of Magick
Wiccan Feminism, Witchcraft And Independent Spirituality
Candle Magick: A Critical Review
Hail to the Spirits of Hekate’s Garden
Druids And The Ogham Tree Alphabet
The Lives Of Witches: Lughnasadh The Grieving And Celebrations
Christianity and the Crone Goddess